Another Onam just passed by. 🙂 This Onam was special. This is our first Onam after wedding. Jay, being brought up in North India, has never ‘felt’ an Onam. This is my first Onam outside Kerala – away from parents and family.
Three things that come to my mind about Onam is – Pookalam, Onapudava and Onasadhya.
Until I took up a job and moved out of town, we used to make pookalam on all the 10 days from Atham to Thiruvonam. We cousins, make a basket out of the leaves of certain plants and go for flower-hunting. Our ansectoral home is a 100 year old house located in the middle of an acre of land. So we had lots of place to roam around in the fields and collect flowers – Thumba, chembarathi, krishnamudi, mukutti, thechi, kozhipoo, padakkavazha, are some of them. Nowadays, most of these have become endangered species. Ha.. Good old days… The first day’s pookalam is made with one type of flower, second day’s with two and so on. On the 9th and 10th day, we buy flowers from market also. After moving out for job, Uthradam and Thiruvonam are the only two days we get as Onam holidays. I catch the first possible train to go home. This year all I could do was to look at the pictures of the pookkalam my cousins share in Whatsapp every day and feel homesick. I miss my family back in India. I wanted to make pookkalam too. But where are the flowers? I finally decided to ‘steal’ some flowers grown in the apartment complex. Jay was against it. He was of the stand that it is not good to pluck the flowers somebody else has grown patiently and that it was not ethical. I was confused – whether to go for ethics or to go for tradition. I finally decided to spread the Onam spirit in my home too. Jay scared me telling I will be handed over to police, if I am caught and all that. 😉 I still decided to do it.. Eeee 😀 And here is my pookkalam.
Amma and achan bought Onakodi for me and Jay as well when they did Onam shopping. I asked Jay to buy new dress for me cos it is a tradition to gift new dress to your loved ones. He, being a person who is soooooo impatient to shop for himself, kept postponing it giving some excuse. For all those who are interested in knowing whether he bought me one – I had to go and buy it myself.
Coming to Onasadhya, I was always on the receiving end. Amma and memas (aunties) were the one who always cooked. Elechan (uncle) being a payasam expert usually makes PalPayasam. This Onam was different. I had to do it all myself. I had no experience with cooking Sadhya. But at the same time, I wanted to have too. So I googled out the recipes, a few calls to Amma – and there! Yes! I did it. I was in the kitchen for one and a half days. I bought Vazhayila from an Indian store and had the Sadhya in vazhayila. Jay came home for lunch and was surprised to see the dishes and the ila. I wore a Kerala saree which I brought from Kerala. He was all surprised. This was the first time I wore a saree here in US. Our friends joined us for dinner and we all had a temple visit together.
We all had a great time together. 😀